Cities face immense pressures. In the context of intensifying global trends, cities are presented with manifold and cross-cutting issues to which they must respond. Among the most pressing is the immediate need to accommodate surging populations while maintaining environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, political engagement and cultural diversity into the future. In this process of planning the future, harnessing technological innovation and initiating programmes for positive development hold out much promise. However, all too often such programmes succumb to the common pitfalls of lack of integration, a reductive emphasis on technological fi xes and a lack of attention to anticipating unintended consequences.